Methodology for Estimating the Abundance of Rare Animals: Seabird Nesting on North East Herald Cay




Summary. We discuss the problem of estimating the number of nests of different species of seabirds on North East Herald Cay based on the data from a 1996 survey of quadrats along transects and data from similar past surveys. We consider three approaches based on different plausible models, namely a conditional negative binomial model that allows for additional zeros in the data, a weighting approach (based on a heteroscedastic regression model), and a transform-both-sides regression approach. We find that the conditional negative binomial approach and a linear regression approach work well but that the transform-both-sides approach should not be used. We apply the conditional negative binomial and linear regression approaches with poststratification based on data quality and availability to estimate the number of frigatebird nests on North East Herald Cay.